Dis Bum Was Robbed
My beloved and I enjoyed a divine evening a few weeks back when we watched "Cinderella Man." Go figure.
Our expectations could NOT have been lower. I kept my finger on the stop button for the first ten minutes and slowly put the remote away completely. Eventually, we looked at each other in disbelief and shook our heads at how wrong we had been in our judgement of the film.
Close on the heels of another amazing boxing picture, "Million Dollar Baby," "Cinderella Man" opened in early 2005 to low box office numbers. Throughout the year, producer Brian Grazer kept trying to sell the movie to a resistant public. First with money back guarantees and later by re-releasing it to find a new audience. Felt like whipping a dead horse to us.
But try as Grazer might, he couldn't get us into the theater. The trailer made it seem like a million other "underdog" movies and every clip we saw on the talk show circuit looked even worse -- predictable! So...it dropped off our radar screen completely.
It was a quiet winter night when we selected it from our "On Demand" cable menu last month. For some reason, we painfully decided to fork over the $3.99 and risk disappointment.
What we saw was FAR from what had been marketed to us. It was NOT predictable, it was NOT full of cliches. It was an inspiring, engaging story rich in history with an original take on the Depression, boxing, and redemption. Even though we knew what was ultimately going to happen, we had NOT seen this film before. It was a refreshing experience. Too bad it was so ignored.
A worse shame is that between last January and now, Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger were forgotten by acting award voters. This might be partly due to their (dark) days in the sun last year: Russell and his unfortunate "cell phone incident" and Renee's marriage and divorce from Kenny Chesney. And the picture didn't sell. That's a formula for being overlooked. They were lovely together and should NOT have been ignored. Paul Giamatti's performance has received kudos (this could be pay-back for his losing the big awards last year as the star of "Sideways" but he deserves this years' accolades even so). Giamatti did a very hard thing: he made me believe boxing is something you can actually get passionate about.
But YOU should get passionate about seeing this movie if you haven't already. It's a gem that deserved more than it got. You won't be sorry.